Monday, May 30, 2016

a vine and some grasses

a surprise came this afternoon...another grape vine...seedless, but gift horse and all i filled the plastic bag it came packed in with water and found a sunny spot to dig a hole...i was going to use the fence as a trellis but thought better of it...there have been property line issues so i will build a i put it on the southeast corner of the potato bed ( and dug up half a dozen jerusalem artichokes in the process )...i let the roots soak for a few minutes, cut the bag open and planted the vine with the crown about an inch below the soil surface and back-filled with compost and soil ( heavy on the compost ) a bit i will be planting a geranium nearby to deal with any wandering japanese beetles...unlike the spring wheat i planted in march, pacific bluestem and bart wheat do not like cool is not cool anymore so it was time to plant..i dug out a couple of deep containers, filled with a mix of potting soil and compost...broadcast the seed in the containers, raked them under with my fingers, and they can do what seeds do and we can watch some reasonably rare heirloom wheat has been three days of planting...time for a break..back to work tomorrow.

industrial corn

after i was done planting i went out for a ride down county line road to porter county to see what was up...what's up is there is a lot of agricultural machinery out there in the fields...another thing going on the erosion cuts in the berm of this field are disguised by what may or may not be termed "weeds"...whatever they are the do not negate the fact that parts of this field wash away every year...another thing that is up is dense yellow #2 in long rows across the field...the industrial work is underway...the anhydrous ammonia is already down and there are herbicides and insecticides to come ( liberty link? some bayer seed? i wonder ) as well as more diesel fuel for traction and harvesting...there will be more to come...the field by the supermarket is due to be beans this season so that won't be in until next month...and i am still uncertain about what, if anything, is in the field behind the big box was fallow last year but held corn the year before that...beans would seem to be the call but you never know...we can make that call later.

maize day ( and a spud )

the last of the basement spuds has gotten a bit "leggy" under the lights and i have been soaking maize seed ( bear paw ) as well so the time had arrived to do more planting since it's warm enough for maize and the potato was stalled dug a hole and cultivated a row for the maize...added amendments to the soil...planted the seed and the plant and watered the whole area thoroughly...the plant will probably shock but come back and the maize will probably feed the squirrels..i will get some zea morphology photos along the way though and compare the maize with the teosinte...always good to have a "wild and weedy" ancestor growing nearby...alberto warman says mexican maize farmers say growing teosinte on the margins of their fields makes their maize "stronger"...gene flow perhaps...they are related...multiple generation back yard.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


plant morphology is a puzzler at least for me...the top photo is of one of my last sightings of new growth perennial teosinte ( zea diploperennis ) from the perennial garden project's last season in 2014...the second photo is of a plant in my back yard right now that is supposed to be the annual strain zea mays parvaglumis...and the third is another plant germinated from the same batch od seeds...i am not especially surprised at the resemblance between the perrenial and annual plants in the first two photos...they are related...but the difference between the two plants form the same seed batch has me looks far more like northern tepehuan teosinte which i still have seed for..but that is in the freezer and i have not thawed any since i put ti there...not surprising to find plants from the same strain with different two potato plant look exactly alike either...but the difference between these two is startling..look at the tillers on the plant in the middle photo and the relative lack of them on the third is early in the season...appearances could change...we'll see.

gluten and starch

the lettuce and the peppers that looked a bit shocked after planting yesterday have recovered and seem to be fine..i expected a recovery but one this rapid it better than expected...the rest of the backyard plant population is doing well...the sweet potato patch ( with a spud dead center ) and the bed of wheat behind it are looking robust...there is volunteer wheat around the yard and i am about to start some maize in defiance of the squirrels...the potato patch in the sixth photo is coming along and the cousins mashua and nasturtiums are up and running in five separate containers...i have four yacon plants and the ones that were supposed to arrive as "live" plants failed to live up to that designation...if the replacements arrive in plantable condition a couple will go here and one will find its way to my bed in the community garden...i just planted bee balm for the expected arrival of bees and, perhaps, for the natives to utilize as well...parsley and thyme along with the unconscionable rhubarb ( not my idea 0 are next up for planting out back...the season takes hold.

no rain

the "possibility of rain" yesterday turned out to be an impossibility and since the lettuce and peppers i planted at home was looking a little shocked yesterday i went out to the community garden to water expecting to find the same..i did not...the lettuce and tomatoes and peppers were fine..i watered them anyway because there is nor rain forecast before wednesday...the beds are doing just fine and i finally got a decent photo of the asparagus flowers...the garden is at least partly up and running and there is more to come with the beds fully planted , hopefully within the next two weeks.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

industrial agriculture

errands took me by the field behind the big box stores today...last year this was a fallow field that grew thistles and lamb's quarters and volunteer corn until someone took a bush hog to it...this year there has been machinery in the field again but it looks more tilled than bush hogged...corn would be mny guess but i will not be sure until something pops up...for now all i found was some bermuda thistle that had been turned under and reemerged roots intact...and someone has either bought the property or vandalized the realtor's sign...same thing happened to the sign on the other side of sterling creek road...that field has been plowed as industry is on the move on the edges of suburbia...more as it comes up.

backyard planting

after i finished on campus i came home to do a bit more work...the top photo is the bed that held the second year ramps until the trees were cut down and the direct sun began to fry them...they have been moved ( and do not seem overly happy in their new location either..lamentable but true...we will see what happens...if you cannot accept loss you shouldn't be doing this )...some shovel and hoe work plus 320# of compost turned it into a bed that had two cucumber hills ( sumter and spacemaster growing from seed ) and room for ( in order 0boston pickling cucumber, sweet banana, sweet cherry tomato, hot banana pepper, yellow bell pepper, and roma tomato...the last photo is of the finished bed including three buttercrunch lettuce plants i do not seem to have photographed on the way in...see today's post on the community garden if you need a graphic of that...there are more peppers on the way and there will be a spud planting for later harvest...and the "bread from scratch" project still has Jean and i busy...we are nothing if not in motion.